Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Downtown House Being Deconstructed For Apartments

Plus: City planning third cruise ship dock

By - Jan 25th, 2020 05:35 pm
Deconstruction of the duplex at 1245-1247 N. Milwaukee St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Deconstruction of the duplex at 1245-1247 N. Milwaukee St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A Civil War-era house is all but gone, but most of it won’t end up in a landfill.

Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton has made good on his promise to the Historic Preservation Commission to deconstruct, not demolish, the house at 1245-1247 N. Milwaukee St. His firm, Beach House, will replace the structure with a three-story apartment building with three high-end units.

Beach House hired Kenosha-based Recyclean to deconstruct the Victorian Gothic house and a crew has been on site this week taking it apart. Materials, including old-growth timber, are piled up along the edge of the corner lot awaiting a new home.

Preservation advocate Dawn McCarthy applied to have the duplex, altered substantially since its construction, designated as historic. But the commission rejected the designation.

For those interested in the history of the downtown duplex, including a past resident’s impact on rebuilding after the Historic Third Ward fire, a murder and its role in Milwaukee’s early Greek community, see an extensive report prepared by commission staffer Carlen Hatala.

The 26-year-old Bucks guard, who has been with the team since the start of the 2018-19 season, acquired the property in March for $325,000 according to city records. His firm had applied for a raze permit for the property on October 8th. Connaughton told the commission he intends to live in the new building.

It’s not the last time the commission will meet with Beach House. The firm is also proposing to buy a vacant, city-owned lot in the Brady Street Historic District and develop a small building.


House Photos

Komatsu Cruise Ship Dock Will Be Used by Viking

Port director Adam Schlicht confirmed this week that the land the city is reserving as part of the Komatsu South Harbor campus development will be used for Viking Cruises planned Milwaukee turnaround service.

The cruise operator announced last week it was planning to enter the Great Lakes cruise market in 2022 and will use Milwaukee as a turnaround location where trips start or end.

“So potentially by 2022, we’re talking 12,000 or more passengers on cruise ships both with new service on Viking and our legacy Great Lakes customers,” Schlicht told Maredithe Meyer this week.

The cruise terminal would be the city’s third, which Schlicht said is a competitive advantage. Many of the cruise ships servicing the city currently stop outside Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin. The largest ships use the Lake Express ferry dock at the south end of the harbor.

The port reported 3,214 passenger visits through 10 cruise ship visits in 2019. This year is expected to bring 14 stops with more than 4,000 passengers.

The international cruise provider will operate the biggest cruise ship on the Great Lakes: a 670-foot ship capable of carrying 378 passengers and 250 crew members. Known as Viking Octantis, the ship is currently under construction. Rooms range from 222-square-foot “Nordic Balcony” to a 1,223-square-foot “Owner’s Suite.”

Komatsu Renderings

NEWaukee Will Create “The Beacon” in Walker’s Point

Social architecture firm NEWaukee, host of the Wisconsin Avenue Night MarketUrban Island Beach Party and a host of other popular events, is expanding its reach to real estate.

An affiliate of the company will redevelop the former Schlitz Tivoli Palm Garden building, long the home of the Milwaukee Ballet, at 504 W. National Ave. into The Beacon, which will be both an event space along with meeting and office space. A 1,500-square-foot cafe or bar is planned for the building’s first floor.

“Over the past ten years, we have studied how people move through spaces and have created unique, catalytic programming throughout the City of Milwaukee,” said CEO Angela Damiani in announcing the deal. “Now, we are excited to take all of this experience and apply it in the development of a permanent, physical home for NEWaukee and the community at large.”

Damiani and Chief Idea Officer Jeremy Fojut are forming Place Based Development and partnering with developers JoAnne Sabir and Melissa Goins of Freedom Endeavors. Sabir partnered with Juli Kaufmann on the Sherman Phoenix marketplace and Goins has developed a number of affordable housing projects throughout the city.

“We see an opportunity in having the new amenity be experience and connection,” said Fojut of plans to make the building compelling for office and co-working tenants. Read more.

Plan Will Build City’s Largest Solar Array

The Milwaukee Common Council will soon vet a proposal to lease a closed landfill to We Energies to allow the utility to build the largest solar array in the city.

Capable of generating enough electricity to power 400 homes, the solar project would be built on a site at the southeast corner of Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport.

We Energies, through its Solar Now program, would lease eight acres from the city for an annual cost of approximately $100,000. The lease payments would depend on the amount of electricity generated, but a city report notes the estimate is based on 30 years of solar irradiance data for Southeastern Wisconsin. The city would dedicate the revenue towards funding other renewable energy initiatives.

The utility would build a solar farm it would own and operate with approximately 8,000 panels capable of producing 2.25 megawatts. The installation would move the city closer to its “25 by 25” goal of having 25 percent of its electricity needs (15 megawatts) generated by renewable sources by 2025. Learn more.

North Shore’s North End Transformation

North Shore Bank, through its contractors, continues to make steady progress in the redevelopment of a 90-year-old house into a modern bank branch.

Located at 510 E. Pleasant St., the project will merge old and new to create an 1,800-square-foot branch.

The house, which was constructed in 1930, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society, will be used as the bank’s front door, while a glassy addition is being attached on the building’s western edge overlooking N. Water St.

Plunkett Raysich Architects is designing the new branch. Pierce Engineering is providing engineering service. Pinnacle Construction is leading the general contracting. Read on.



Downtown Hotel Will Be “Dubbel Dutch”

The partners behind the conversion of the historic Charles A. Koeffler, Jr. House into a 17-room boutique hotel announced Tuesday that the property will be known as “Dubbel Dutch” when it opens in May.

“The name is a play on the original architecture of the historic side-by-side or double house, designed by Milwaukee’s famed Ferry & Clas in 1898. Dubbel Dutch draws its inspiration from the unique Flemish-style shaped gables crowned with finials and the Flemish-Dutch spelling for ‘double,’” said the partners in announcing the name.

Marshall Street LLC, which includes developer Juli Kaufmann, general contractor Andy Braatz and architect Patrick Jones, purchased the building at 817-819 N. Marshall St. for $600,000 in September from real estate investment firm CJ Taxman Interests according to state records. The property is assessed for $719,900. The project has an estimated budget of $2 million.

The partners are seeking a tenant to buy out the entire space during the July 2020 Democratic National Convention. But to make that happen it will also need what is is dubbing a “house manager” to oversee operations. Interested parties for leasing or employment are encouraged to email Read more.

City Plans 2nd Round of Housing Rehab

City officials continue to seek the best strategy to address the lingering effects of the foreclosure crisis in Milwaukee. That means finding ways to handle the thousands of poorly-maintained properties the city has acquired through foreclosure after owners or banks quit paying property taxes.

“When the foreclosure crisis hit, it hit hardest in the 15th district and the 6th district was right behind it,” said Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs last week of Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II‘s central city district and her near north side district, which lead the city in the number of tax-foreclosed properties. “We thought if you have all these houses, you have all these people needing affordable housing, there are efforts that you don’t normally do to close that gap.”

With approximately 1,000 properties in its inventory at any given moment, the city has tried a variety of strategies to get the homes it owns repaired and back on the property tax rolls: marketing them to nearby residents, selling the best ones for discounted prices to owner-occupants, unloading them in bulk to developersoffering them for $1 to artistsselling vacant lots to neighbors and Habitat for Humanityusing them as construction training sites and deconstructing the worst ones. As a result the city has sold hundreds of properties annually year, but continues to acquire hundreds more as depressed real estate prices in certain areas stunt the private market.

Now the Common Council and Department of City Development are moving to fund the best performing ideas. Chief among them is MERI, the Milwaukee Employment/Renovation Initiative, created in 2017. The program, wherein the city provided a home for $1 and a $10,000 grant, required developers to hire underemployed or unemployed city residents at a city-set Living Wage to perform at least 500 hours rehabbing the home. Read on.

Crane Added to City Plan Commission

Economic development veteran Catrina Crane will be the newest member of the City Plan Commission.

Crane was unanimously confirmed by the Milwaukee Common Council Tuesday morning.

“I’m really excited and honored for the opportunity to serve on the City Plan Commission,” Crane told the council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee last week. “I have always had this devoted love for economic development.”

Crane, a self-described “weird kid,” said she grew up watching Channel 25, the city’s public access station, on which she’ll now appear monthly. She grew up near the then-Capitol Court shopping center and still lives near what is now Midtown Center.

She has worked at Menomonee Valley Partners as the director of workforce and business solutions since July 2006. “It was an opportunity to rebuild a city within a city,” said Crane of work on the redevelopment of the former railroad yard. According to a resume submitted to the city, she was also an instructor at Bryant and Stratton College from 2004 through 2011. From 2004 to 2006 she served as a consultant to the Department of City Development on a federal Healthy Homes grant. Read more.

Big Blue Building Adds Signature Sign

Milwaukeeans won’t have any trouble remembering the name of that large, blue downtown building in Westown.

The plaza in front of the building now sports a 16.5-foot-wide sign proudly baring the building’s name, 310W. It’s a nod to the building’s address, 310 W. Wisconsin Ave., and marks the continued evolution of the complex.

New York-based Time Equities Inc. (TEI) acquired the 14-story, 578,000-square-foot building in December 2017 for $19.5 million and set about formalizing a plan to reinvigorate the aging property. The purchase is part of a $30 million investment that includes new lighting, rehabbing 15 elevators and 52 bathrooms, rebuilding the 14-story atrium and creating a host of modern tenant amenities including a coworking space, fitness center and shared conference rooms.

The building, designed by Voy Madeyski for the firm of Perkins and Will, was originally known as the Henry Reuss Federal Plaza when it was built in 1983 and had a number of government tenants. But that changed after the 9/11 attack and subsequent focus on security. The building doesn’t comply with modern federal security standards and many departments relocated as a result. It was briefly branded “The Blue” in an attempt to attract new tenants to the property.

TEI unveiled its redevelopment plan in June. The building is suitable for tenants seeking between 1,500 and 150,000 square feet of Class A space at a Class B price said Transwestern executive vice president Marianne Burish in touting the building’s value proposition. Transwestern is leading the building’s lease-up. Learn more.

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